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A parasitoid is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life history attached to or within a single host organism, which it ultimately kills (and often consumes) in the process. Thus they are similar to typical parasites except in the certain fate of the host. In a typical parasitic relationship, the parasite and host live side by side without lethal damage to the host. Typically, the parasite takes enough nutrients to thrive without preventing the host from reproducing. In a parasitoid relationship, the host is killed, normally before it can produce offspring.
A facehugger is the second stage in the alien's life cycle. It has eight long finger-like legs which allow it to crawl rapidly, and a long tail adapted for making great leaps. These particular appendages give it an appearance somewhat comparable to chelicerate arthropods such as arachnids and horseshoe crabs. The facehugger is a parasitoid; its only purpose is to make contact with the host's mouth for the implantation process, by gripping its legs around the victim's head and wrapping its tail around the host's neck. Upon making contact, the facehugger tightens its tail around the host's neck in order to render it unconscious through oxygen deprivation. The facehugger then inserts a proboscis down the host's throat, supplying it with oxygen whilst simultaneously implanting an embryo. Attempts to remove facehuggers generally prove fatal, as the parasite will respond by tightening its grip, and the facehugger's acidic blood prevents it from being safely cut away. A facehugger has been observed shedding its cells and replacing them with polarized silicon in order to better survive in adverse environmental conditions. At least one facehugger has been shown to be capable of surviving exposure to the hostile environment of LV-426, where temperatures were cold enough to freeze carbon dioxide. Once the alien embryo is safely implanted, the facehugger detaches and dies.
The Chestburster is a Xenomorph larvae (or Nymph because it ressembles the adult and is not seen forming a cocoon to reach maturity). An egg is laid in the pharynx by a Facehugger. It's expeculated that it develops in a manner similar to that of the immature heartworm (Irofilaria immitis) that migrates through the body absorbing nutrients before establishing itself. Far from the pharynx it's unknown if the embryo travels to the host 's stomach or to the bronchial tubes. Another theory says that the alien begins his life in the host body not has an embryo but has a tumor that later takes the shape of an immature alien. In this theory, what the Facehugger injects in the host is not an infant Xenomorph but a virus like organism that inserts it's proteins in the host DNA and commands it's cells to "create" the chestburster wich has both the Alien proteins and the Host's.
After implantation, facehuggers die and the embryo's host wakes up afterwards showing no considerable outward negative symptoms. Symptoms build acutely after detachment of the facehugger, the most common being sore throat, slight nausea, increased congestion and moderate to extreme hunger. In later stages where the incubation period is extended in preparation of a queen birth, symptoms will include a shortness of breath, exhaustion, and hemorrhaging (detectable through biological scanners and present in nosebleeds or other seemingly random bleeding incidents), as well as chest pains inflicted either in lack of chest space due to the chestburster's presence, or even premature attempts to escape the host. The incubating embryo takes on some of the host's DNA or traits, such as bipedalism, quadrupedalism or possessing the mandibles of a Predator and other body structure changes. Over the course of 1–24 hours, indeterminable in some cases, and sometimes up to a week, in the case of some queens, the embryo develops into a chestburster, at which point it emerges, violently ripping open the chest of the host, killing it.
The Alien's entrance into the world is truly one of the most disturbing aspects of this creature's life. Once development within the host is complete the embryo punches its way out of the host in an agonizing display of blood and bone. Unlike a possible forced labor in which there is a sudden and extreme release of adrenaline into the embryo's system (as discussed above), it is believed that at approximately 30 minutes prior to birth there is a gradual reflexive release of adrenaline within the I. raptus embryo. The first releases help turn the embryo so that it is positioned in a manner that orients its head behind the sternum of the host. Over the course of the next 30 minutes, or so, the amounts are slowly and regularly increased to the point at which the Alien has reached a peak stage of agitation and it begins to forcibly exit the host.
When fully developed, the creature releases enzymes that softens the bone and sorrounding tissues and starts chewing the sternum. This causes the victim great pain, shock, and blood loss. Then, true to its namesake, it pops out. If far away from the Hive it cannot depend on the adults so it actively searches for a nursery, chicken coop, or a food locker, something with a large amount of organic or inorganic matter (such as metals) wich it softens with it's acid fluids and directly converts into body mass.
Heartworms, Dirofilaria immitis, belong to the same class of worms as roundworms. In fact, they look a bit like roundworms, but that is where the similarity ends. Heartworms spend their adult life in the right side of the heart and the large blood vessels connecting the heart to the lungs. Heartworms are found in dogs, cats, and ferrets. They also occur in wild animals such as California sea lions, foxes and wolves. They have rarelybeen found in people.
Adult heartworms in the heart lay very tiny larvae called microfilariae, which then live in the bloodstream. These microfilariae enter a mosquito when it sucks blood from an infected animal. In 2-3 weeks, the microfilariae develop into larger larvae in the mosquito and migrate to the mosquito's mouth.
When the mosquito bites another animal, the larvae enter the animal's skin. The larvae grow and after about three months finish their migration to the heart, where they grow into adults, sometimes reaching a length of 14 inches. The time from when an animal was bitten by an infected mosquito until adult heartworms develop, mate, and lay microfilariae is about 6-7 months in dogs and 8 months in cats.
Many "parasites" portrayed in fiction would actually be classified as parasitoids; these include: * The Xenomorphs from the Alien films. * The X Parasites and Metroids from the Metroid series. * Several of the symbiotes from the Spider-Man comics. * The Flood from the Halo video game series. * The Headcrabs from the game Half-Life. * The "#-weasels" from Stephen King's novel Dreamcatcher. * The Magog from the television series Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. * The Black Oil alien virus from The X-Files. * The Vindrizi and the Drakk's "Keepers" from Babylon 5. * The Broodlings from the StarCraft games. * The earwig from "The Caterpillar" episode of Night Gallery, based on the old wives' tale about the earwig. * Las Plagas from Resident Evil 4. * Uroboros from Resident Evil 5.
Originally posted by Clairaudience
Go and see a doctor if you have those symptoms!